In the News

News | July 15, 2008

III MEF Unit Shares Non-Lethal Tactics with Bangladeshi Service Members, Law Enforcement Personnel

By Cpl. Juan D. Alfonso Quantico Sentry, Marine Corps Base Quantico Public Affairs Office

PEELKHANA, DHAKA, Bangladesh – Okinawa-based Marines and Sailors shared non-lethal tactics with more than 100 Bangladeshi service members and local law-enforcement personnel July 12 – 21 during a training scenario at Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The training was part of Non-Lethal Weapons Executive Seminar 2008, a bilateral training seminar headed by U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, and conducted by III Marine Expeditionary Force’s Special Operations Training Group, to teach Bangladeshi service members non-lethal tactics.

The purpose of the seminar is to teach Bangladeshi service members and law-enforcement personnel how to employ non-lethal techniques for peace-keeping operations and security using the minimum amount of force necessary, said Capt. David Fenbert, the assistant SOTG Detachment officer in charge.

"Our hope is that the participants will take this training back to their respective services and, if necessary, use it,” said. Maj. Bradley Magrath, the SOTG Detachment and field exercise officer in charge.

The Marines began the nine-day training package with classes about rules of engagement and the force continuum, a system that determines how much force is necessary to suppress an aggressor.

"You need to take temper and intent into consideration before deciding what action you want to take,” said Sgt. Russell A. Douthat, an anti-terrorism force protection instructor with the unit. "If there is no immediate threat of bodily harm or death, it may be better to employ non-lethal measures to stop them.”

Once the students understood the core doctrines for violence, the instructors began teaching them a series of baton and mechanical advantage control / hold techniques, a series of movements designed to control a suspect using the least amount of energy possible.

"MACH is very good for capturing,” said Bangladesh; Maj. Shardar-Mohammed Lablur, a student at the course. "It doesn’t break bones and allows me to use minimal force to maximize my goal. It’s very simple and I will teach it to my men.”

Once the students were proficient with all aspects of non-lethal weapons, the Marines introduced them to the two most painful portions of the non-lethal course: the X26E electro-muscular disrupter (stun gun) and oleoresin capsicum (pepper) spray.

Enduring the pain of the stun gun and pepper spray allows users to understand their effects, according to Douthat. It also helps users learn how to defend themselves if an aggressor uses either weapon against them.

"The spray was terrible,” said Bangledesh Navy/Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Mohammad Ashrafulalam, a student of the course. "But it was very good training. We don’t have the opportunity for this training in my country but maybe we introduce these sorts of items now that we see how effective it is.”

After they experienced the effectiveness of pepper spray and tasers, the Marines concluded the training with a series of riot control techniques utilizing bayonets, shields and non-lethal ammunition, such as beanbags.

"Given their non-familiarity with the weapons used they’ve done very well,” said Gunnery Sgt. Dennis Dodd, the senior anti-terrorism force protection instructor and detachment staff non-commissioned officer in charge. "Once they got past their fear of the unknown and their anxiety, they took to the training and have done well.”

Many of their Bangladeshi counterparts felt the training was very beneficial and wanted to thank the Marine instructors for their hard work and patience.

"The Marines were very professional, knew their job and how to teach it,” said Bangladesh; Rifle Maj. Mohammed Saleh, second in command of the 24th Rifle Battalion and Bangladesh field exercise OIC. "My people enjoyed the experience and I want to thank MARFORPAC for allowing us to have it.”